NORFOLK -- Expanded bus service between Portsmouth and Norfolk begins July 6 to help people cross the Elizabeth River faster, more frequently and provide a toll-free option.

Customers of local routes 44, 45 and 47 will find additional service into the evenings and on weekends under an agreement that provides Hampton Roads Transit with $2.1 million annually to pay for the service plus seven new buses to supplement the routes.

'This is a deal that benefits the transit community and the region at large because it gives people a real option other than driving,' said William Harrell, president and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit.

Along with the new buses a number of changes to the familiar routes serving the cities are also being implemented.

  • Route 44 will now operate between Starmount Parkway and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with stops at Victory Crossing and High Street/Florida Avenue. Route 44 will service Tidewater Community College (Portsmouth Campus) Monday through Saturday after 7 pm. Service to EVMC/Fort Norfolk light rail station and the Downtown Norfolk Transit Center will be discontinued and the Rt. 44 will now terminate at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Rt. 44 will operate until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
  • Rt. 45 will provide 15-minute peak hour service Mon.-Fri. from 6-9 a.m. and from 4-7 p.m.
  • Rt. 47 will provide 15-minute peak hour service between County and Court Streets and Village and Academy Monday through Friday from 6-8 a.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. All Monday through Saturday service will now operate until 10:00 p.m. and new Sunday service will be provided hourly from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Officials say the new bus service enhancements are part of a larger effort to improve transit options for people using the Elizabeth River tunnels. HRT's Elizabeth River ferries are now operating earlier weekday service starting at 5:30 a.m.

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